Time to Put the Tools Away

The Gardenist

It is December 12th and I (shockingly) gardened yesterday (thank you global warming). The New England ground where I live is still not frozen and I was able to finally put the last dozen plants that I bought months ago into the ground (whew). But now that I have pushed the outermost limits of the gardening calendar, it is time to pack it up. But rather than just shoving all the stuff in the shed, I thought I would take some time and care to put things away in a way that won't have me cursing next spring. Here are some of the tips that I am employing as I clean up and put away this year.
  • I've got pruners that haven't been sharpened in years, and the rust is threatening to overtake the hinges. The instructions in this 10 minute tutorial promise to get them back to like new condition.
  • The oily sand bucket is key to keeping those shears and shovels shiny and clean through the winter. All it takes is a bucket (why not use a garden trug?), some sand and some motor oil or mineral oil. Here is a run down the details.
  • The sprinkler system has been disconnected, and the wood pile has been neatly re-stacked inside the garage for easy access.
  • I have affectionally started calling this time of year cardboard season. I avidly avoid the mall all year round, and most especially at this time of year, which leads to having lots and lots of cardboard lying around from internet holiday shopping. Use this excess paper (in this way) to feed soil and get a head start on smothering spring weeds. As a bonus, it'll lighten the load on your landfill.
  • However, I'm not putting away my hoses just yet — all my new plants continue to need water, and last year's relatively warm, dry winter taught me that that this type of condition does not bode well for new garden babies. These plants don't have extensive root systems to get the water that they need, and without the ground freeze to protect them, they may need a little extra water. You may still need that hose and if you can, you should water new plants until the ground freezes.

Do you have any end of season tips to share?

(Image: Shutterstock)

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